A trick to avoid the hike in the cost of taking public transport between central London and Heathrow Airport has emerged.
Several online blogs are advising budget-conscious travellers they can sidestep a 57% fare increase by adding just a few minutes to their journey.
Discounts for off-peak travel on London Underground and Elizabeth line trains from Zone 1 to Heathrow were scrapped on Sunday.
This means adult pay-as-you-go fares outside the morning and evening peak periods have risen from £3.50 to £5.50 on the Tube, and from £10.80 to £12.80 on the Elizabeth line.
But London Underground passengers travelling on the Piccadilly line to Heathrow can pay the same fare as before if they get off at Hatton Cross – one stop before the west London airport – tap out at the ticket barriers, tap back in, and catch the next Tube.
The same method can be used to save money on Elizabeth line journeys.
Getting off – and back on again – at Hayes and Harlington station is £3 cheaper than a non-stop trip to Heathrow.
A post by London blogger “diamond geezer”, which outlined the potential savings, stated that “in normal times” it would be seen as “penny-pinching”, but “we no longer live in normal times”.
He added: “The Heathrow off-peak fare hike is very much the advance guard for a number of nastier decisions coming down the line – thanks Mr Shapps – so steel yourself for more unexpected and unwanted announcements coming all too soon.”
Transport for London (TfL) said the removal of off-peak discounts is a result of conditions imposed by the Department for Transport – led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – as part of a £1.2 billion funding package agreed last week.
The fee for buying an Oyster card also rose on Sunday, from £5 to £7.
The price increases are expected to generate an additional £27 million per year and support TfL in achieving its target of “financially sustainable operations” by April 2023.
Heathrow Express fares are unaffected by the changes.
The service – which runs non-stop between the airport and Paddington, west London – costs £25 for a single ticket bought on the day of travel, although advance tickets are available from £5.50.